An Azerbaijani’s Unexpected Israel Experience

Written by Oktay Guliyev, international student in the Israel Studies master’s program at the University of Haifa International School, Class of 2015-2016. 

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Oktay in the German Colony, Haifa

What is it actually like to live and study in Israel as an international student? There are three major cities in Israel. Tel-Aviv, city of the present; Jerusalem, city of the past; and Haifa, city of the future. I am living and studying in the city of the future. I have emotional and spiritual connections with Israel which are unexplainable with words. I see many advantages of studying in Israel, and at the University of Haifa International School (UHIS). As part of the International school I study Land of Israel Studies with people from all over the world, and at the moment I am the first MA student from Azerbaijan.

The professors at the UHIS made aliyah from all corners of the world, are well educated and really care about us students. Our professors and teacher assistants do their best to assist us and listen to what we have to say, and care about how well we perform in their classes.

People think that Israel is not safe, but contrary to popular belief, Israel is safe, especially for students. Public security is very important in Israel, which is evident by the routine searches performed when entering public areas such as bus stations, malls, or other highly crowded buildings. All of these precautions help make Israel a very safe destination for students.

UHIS arranges a lot of fun events for students, on and off campus, including parties, sports, yoga, trips around the country, the International food festival, and volunteering, just to mention a few. We spend most of our great times together in our lovely Moadon (club in Hebrew).

Israel provides an interesting and unique combination of ancient history, religion, and culture. When it comes to nature, Israel has a lot to offer despite its size, from Eilat in the South, with coral reefs and dolphins in the Red Sea, the desert and Dead Sea, the hills of Jerusalem, the Mediterranean coast line and Tel Aviv, which also happens to be one of the world’s most gay friendly cities with its beaches, to the green North, with the Sea of Galilee and Mount Hermon, where it’s possible to ski in the winter.

You see, there is far more to Israel than conflicts and camels. Coming here to study, or even just to travel, is something I would recommend to anyone any day, without thinking twice. If you happen to be Azerbaijani (or any other nationality) and are considering going to study abroad, and you are interested in a different experience, consider UHIS as a wonderful option.

To sum up, having studying Land of Israel Studies including BA and MA, I would choose to live during the next most healthy and vibrant period of my life in Israel. I feel myself as a part of the Israeli society. I feel that this is my home.

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For more information see the website for the Israel Studies Master’s program, or email us at infograd@univ.haifa.ac.il.

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